Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool: Match Analysis & Video Highlights
A wonderful late goal from Glen Johnson gave Liverpool a deserved victory in West London as they overcame Chelsea 2-1
A wonderful late goal from Glen Johnson gave Liverpool a deserved victory in West London as they overcame Chelsea 2-1. Maxi Rodriguez had given the visitors a first half lead with the hosts providing little in the way of creativity. They rallied in the second half as substitute Daniel Sturridge levelled the scores after 55 minutes, however it was left to a brilliant solo effort from ex-Blue Johnson to ensure Liverpool left London with all 3 points.
Kenny Dalglish met the final whistle with jubilant gesticulations as he celebrated a second win at Stamford Bridge in less than 12 months, ensuring his unbeaten record against Chelsea continued. Chelsea boss, Andre Villas-Boas on the other hand was clearly dejected, no doubt upset with the manner in which his side submitted to their third defeat in four games. His side now find themselves 12 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City, their form having taken a turn for the worst in a near mirror image of this time last year when assistant manager Ray Wilkins was mysteriously dismissed.
The opening exchanges did much to suggest the fashion in which this game would play out. Chelsea struggled to create any chances of notoriety except for a Juan Mata cross-come-shot that flashed across the six-yard box without a Blue shirt to tap home. At the other end, the visitors looked composed which was more than could be said for Chelsea’s defence who cut a shadow of the rock that defined the team under the title winning Jose Mourinho. Twice Rodriguez’s pace got him behind John Terry and David Luiz-who look anything but a Premiership partnership-and Luis Saurez and Craig Bellamy’s movement were causing Chelsea problems.
It was no surprise then to see this defensive uncertainty spread viral to their midfield as Liverpool took the lead from a costly mistake. John Obi Mikel, usually the epitome of composure, dwelt for too long in his own half before being dispossessed by Charlie Adam. The Scot slipped the ball through to Bellamy who had acres of space in a gaping defence, playing a one-two with Suarez before finding Rodriquez left of center. The Argentinian had the time to coolly place his shot to the side of Petr Cech, who could be criticised for the initial pass to Mikel which put the midfielder under pressure.
The first half progressed with little action to speak of, but the dead silence that filled the stadium told the story of an away team firmly in control of proceedings. Villas-Boas took the bold decision to punish Mikel for his carelessness by replacing the Nigerian at half-time for the in-form Daniel Sturridge and his presence had an almost immediate impact. On 50 minutes Chelsea almost equalised after a neat exchange from Frank Lampard and Mata gave Drogba the opportunity to curl a shot just wide of the goal. It mattered not, as 5 minutes later, the scores were even, Sturridge helping himself to his fifth goal of the season turning in Florent Malouda’s cross.
The goal sparked some life into the home side, and their fan’s reaction to the goal suggested the tide was turning in their favour. They almost took the lead two minutes later when Drogba’s free-kick was headed towards goal by Branislav Ivanovich. It looked a certain goal yet the Serb was somehow denied by the world-class reflexes of Liverpool’s Pepe Reina who saved brilliantly. Malouda then went close with time ticking away and the visitors firmly on the back-foot but the Frenchman’s effort was scuffed wide of the target.
With the introduction of two ex-Kop idols for the home side, the scales were set to tip dramatically; but not in Chelsea’s favour. Fernando Torres, who left Anfield in a spectacular £50 million move to Chelsea in January was thrust into the spotlight in a bid to show the away fans especially why so much was spent on the Spaniard. Raul Meireles who went the same way on transfer deadline day also appeared from the bench, yet the pair struggled to make a noticeable contribution and it was an ex Chelsea player who ensured he’d be grabbing tomorrow morning’s headlines.
With just three minutes of normal time remaining, Johnson received a pin-point cross field ball from Adam deep in Chelsea territory. With the predatory instincts of an out-and-out winger, the defender controlled the ball instantly before skilfully negotiating a path into the Chelsea area as if the defence was non-existent. Cutting in on his left, the England full-back slid the ball beyond Cech with the composure of a £50 million striker.
There was not enough added time to allow Chelsea, utterly crushed by the spectacular goal just witnessed, to respond and Villas-Boas’ side slumped to yet another demoralising defeat against their rivals in what is becoming a crowded race for a Champions League spot. Ambitions of winning the Premier League have taken a crushing blow in recent weeks, and the loss has allowed Liverpool to equal their points tally. Whilst May is a long way off, the battle is now on to ensure that the Blues do not lose their Champions League place, never mind the league title.
Watch videos of all the goals from Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
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